Ten years ago, I was introduced to a new approach on life, an idea that has stuck with me and presented itself as a theme throughout my life thus far. This concept is one that I have tried to embrace every day and something that I try to check in with myself about a few times a year, to see if I could be doing anything more. The idea that was brought to my attention ten years ago while I was still in grade school is called “pay it forward.”
I once sat in a room with youth from all over the state of Maine who were brought together to talk about the idea of Paying it Forward. We spoke with Bangor community leaders and discussed how we could, as a group, start spreading the idea.
We watched the movie Pay it Forward, based on a real life story and we had small business cards to hand out to people explaining what Pay it Forward is. Our enthusiasm at the end of this week of camp was unlike anything else. Every person left at the end of the week wanting to make a change, knowing that everyone has something to give.
Now I find myself finishing up my college career at an internship with Spruce Run- Womancare Alliance, an organization that gives so much to the community and I am so proud to be a part of. Recently, I was asked to attend a Pay it Forward meeting with a few coworkers at All Saints Church in Bangor. I of course agreed, and was very excited! I knew that this was something that was right up my alley.
I went to the meeting at All Saints Church and walked into a room full of some of the same people whom I had sat with ten years ago. Some of the same community leaders and teachers who had sat with me then are still coming together to bring new Pay it Forward ideas and stories to the table, to motivate each other and come up with new ideas and ways to be able to do more.
Nothing could have brought my life into a bigger or better full circle.
I sat at a table surrounded by community leaders who were also committed to this idea and who were discussing all the ways paying if forward could be added to different organizations. Organizations like Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance that already give so much to the community, but are looking for ways to take it to the next level and continue the growth, by helping people in a moment of need and providing kindness to those around you for no other reason than to help, and perhaps allow them the chance one day do the same for someone else.
There is no better way to teach younger generations of the joys of giving back than by letting them experience it for themselves. We can only hope that generations to come can continue to feel that support so that they will be able to be supportive as well.
The more people who are involved with the Pay it Forward movement, the more it will become a way of thinking, a mindset, and a way of life for people within the community.